If you are
looking for resources for teachers, go to the "teacher's
A student writes: "In some of your previous writings, you mentioned
CD programs. Would you recommend one over the other?"
Dr. Bill replies: What works for somebody else might not work for you at
all. Every few months a new sign language product comes out. I suggest you
go to your local library and borrow a whole stack of books,
videos, CDs, or DVDs, and any other available sign language-related media to
get a feel for what's out there before spending your hard earned
If you want a dictionary, you might want to go retro and buy one of those
pocket-dictionary paperback ones instead of a CD or DVD. You can carry a pocket dictionary of ASL around easily and study while waiting in line at
the store, pumping gas, or any number of other "standing around"
opportunities. (Much less expensive than the latest internet capable
cell phones eh?)
I do provide
CDs for my
distance education students that go with my curriculum. If you are at
a day job where you can use a CD on your desk computer in-between clients or
phone calls, or if you carry a laptop around, then a CD or DVD might work
better for you than a paper-based dictionary. Of course, there are
several great websites out there now with online dictionaries. Most of
them are actually quite good, but I still encourage you to check with local
Deaf people to become familiar with any regional variations of signs that
are popular in your area.
In a message dated 5/10/2006 2:32:52 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
Dear Dr Bill,
I took your advice which
was "Buy the biggest, most comprehensive
ASL dictionary you can find and go through it systematically and
expose yourself to every concept in it." I received it today,
THE CANADIAN DICTIONARY of ASL. I guess I took you quite
literally when you said the biggest, it contains 840 pages.
I am impressed not only by the
size of the book, but also the detailed information I
found. It clearly defines not only the definitions of the words,
but also the description of each signs. In some cases, as in
BROWN, there are 4 different signs, and it clearly describes how
to sign each one, as well as where they are from. Here in the
Maritimes, the Deaf have what they call Maritime Sign Language
(or ATLANTIC), just like Ontario has some signs, which in both
cases, I am sure the signs are used all over. The sign for
BROTHER (Right L-hand to the forehead then coming down on the
Left L-hand). However in the Maritimes, one very common sign for
BROTHER is the knuckles of both A hands rubbing together back
and forth. I saw the senior Deaf at our church use that but I
always thought it was the OLD sign for brother.
Now, I have to really go
through it systematically. Thank you for your suggestions,
particular this one. I believe it will be a great tool for me to
Cydrina's Early Development Centre
Hey, that's terrific that you got an unabridged ASL dictionary!
A friend of mine has that same dictionary and showed it to me.
It is a MONSTER! :)
You'll learn so much!
It will be like constantly finding new gems to play with. You'll hunt
through 50 signs you already know and then bam you'll see something cool
that you didn't know yet.
In a message dated 5/10/2003 11:09:24 PM Central Daylight
Time, Verda writes:
It's certainly a joy to be able to communicate with you.
My name is Verda James, living in the Caribbean Island of St Kitts.
I am hard of hearing and I do use a hearing aid to assist. However, I have
no knowledge of sign language because my entire school years were fine. My
hearing problem seemed to have developed since I began working.
I now have a keen interest in pursuing a degree in American Sign
Language/Deaf Studies and would appreciate your very kind advise with
(i) colleges/universities that offer same
(ii) whether you think it would be necessary to attend a Community College
(iii) whether it is necessary to submit SAT/ACT scores for these
(iv) any other relevant information
I look forward to your soonest response.
Thanks in advance.
If you need a couple of private ASL tutors, just fly my wife and me out to the
Caribbean and put us up up for a week or two and we will teach
you all the ASL you would like.
A lot of the choices that need to be made are really based on your level of
comfort. There are a couple different ways you can learn sign
language: dive in and take the sink or swim approach or get your feet
wet and wade in the shallow end until you've gotten your bearings.
The sink or swim approach would be to attend a signing campus such as
Gallaudet University (see below) or NTID and take sign language classes.
It might seem as if you were dropped off in the middle of a foreign country
(of whose language you've had no prior knowledge of). This route, in
my opinion, is a difficult route to take but it can be quite effective if
you are cut out for it.
The getting your feet wet approach would be to take sign language classes at
a community college. Learn the language, meet deaf people, and become
immersed into the deaf community. It is slower and perhaps not as much
of a culture shock. It, however, does not have to be a community
college. If you have your heart set on ASL/Deaf studies, you can wade
in a bit deeper and just dive right into the program such as one of the
4-year colleges listed below. Some of these programs are typically on
hearing campuses, so you will be part of both worlds - the deaf and hearing.
Regardless of what you do, the absolutely critical part of learning (and
retaining) sign language is meeting deaf people and getting involved in the
community. The deaf community is already on campus at universities
such as Gallaudet. At most other colleges, you'd actually have to go
and hunt down the deaf community because they may not always be at the
college you are attending.
Large cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C. have
larger concentrations of deaf people than most states and are ideal for
meeting deaf people. These cities tend to have a large number of
organizations, services, clubs, and activities for the deaf. For this
purpose you might look into programs such as the Northeastern University/ASL program
in Boston, Massachusetts or perhaps a smaller campus such as Ohlone College
in Fremont, California.
I'll post below a very incomplete list of colleges and universities that offer
American Sign Language programs. Every state, I believe, has some form
of sign language curriculum being taught at one of their universities,
whether it is a sign language interpreting program, Deaf education, or ASL/Deaf studies program.
The application requirements for the colleges/universities vary. If
you are a nontraditional student (24 years old and older), you probably will
not need to submit your SAT/ACT scores. If you are a traditional student,
then chances are they will require you to submit your scores. To be
certain, contact the desired university and find out their entry
There are at least four (that I know of) that cater
specifically to deaf students.
You could major in anything you wish and study sign language as well.
Below are some signing campuses where the majority of students are deaf.
Gallaudet University (Washington, D.C.)
BA, MA, and Ph.D. levels
RIT National Technical Institute for the Deaf (Rochester, NY)
A technical college with a strong liberal arts program. A wide variety
of courses offered here.
AA, BA, MA, and Ph.D. levels
Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf/Howard College - Big Spring,
Liberal Arts College - BA level
Ohlone College (Fremont, CA) (not a complete signing campus-but a large
Liberal Arts College - BA level
http://www2.ohlone.cc.ca.us/instr/div_deaf/ (Deaf Instructional Center)
http://www2.ohlone.cc.ca.us/instr/div_deaf/aslprog/prog.htm (ASL program)
General ASL/Deaf Studies/Deaf Education Programs:
(a handful listed here but there are many, many others)
California State University - Northridge (Northridge, CA)
Deaf Education Program (MA level)
California State University - Fresno
Deaf Education Program (MA level)
In a message dated 2/1/2006 3:37:54 PM Pacific Standard Time,
I was reading info about college programs for D/HH and I know you
gathering more info about colleges and universities that have D/HH
programs. San Jose State University in San Jose, CA that
undergrad degree minoring in D/HH and a Master's Degree Program w/ a
D/HH credential. SJSU is a local college with a
population. San Jose is probably 45 min or so south of
I don't have a degree in D//HH yet. It is something I want to
after I clear my credential. I want to figure out some
way to provide
services to kids who have Learning Disabilities in the D/HH world.
(Special Ed Resource Teacher)
In a message dated 9/28/2005 6:41:27 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
I wanted to let you know that Goshen
College offers a 4 year degree in ASL Interpreting and also a
minor in ASL. Goshen College is located in North Central
Indiana. Here is a link if you are interested in checking
In a message dated 6/8/2006 10:36:10 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
Hi, I just wanted to let you know of another excellent program in
Indiana. The first two years are at Vincennes University ASL Program
the campus of the Indiana School for the Deaf in Indianapolis. After
graduating from the program with an Associate's Degree, you can
on to IUPUI for your Bachelor's Degree in American Sign Language
Interpreting. The program at VU is taught by all Deaf teachers for
courses of ASL 1-4, Deaf Community, Deaf Culture, ASL Grammar, and
Linguistics. This is an excellent program to be a part of.
Hey, that is great to know. Way back in 1985 I volunteered at that
particular campus and was a teacher's assistant for a third grade
teacher named Laura Gaalema.
In a message dated 3/21/2008 2:51:44 P.M. Pacific
Daylight Time, BHar944944 writes:
I did not see Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana listed on your site and
I believe they have a solid ASL major.
Northeastern University (Boston, MA) American Sign Language Program (BA level) www.asl.neu.edu
Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ offers a 2-year ITP program
grants an AAS Degree in Sign Language Interpreting. My professor is
head of the program: Kathy Basilotto, email@example.com
Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC offers a
4 year degree program in either ASL or Interpreting. Claire Bailey, SCPI Coordinator at the South Carolina School for the Deaf
and the Blind, says, "It seems to be the best (if not only) of it's kind in
the South. I have been very impressed with the skill and knowledge level of
the students from that program."
* Kent State University: In a
message dated 11/3/2009 3:37:42 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, rthoryk@
writes: Your website's Q page says that "If you are attending a
college or program that offers an actual degree in ASL, please do
let me know and I'll post it." Kent State University does - 6
students graduated with BA's in ASL in 2007; 8 in 2008. R. Thoryk
Cy-Fair Community College has a two year (four semester)
degree program. Cy-Fair College is part of the North Harris Montgomery
County Community College District. The campuses are located throughout the
Northern parts of Harris and Southern Montgomery counties in Southeast
Texas, USA. A student tells me the program is an excellent one, taught by
deaf instructors. There are about 20 students per teacher each semester.
Lamar University (Beaumont, TX)
Deaf Studies/Deaf Education (MA and Ph.D. level)
Texas Central area:
In a message dated 11/4/2005 6:51:40 PM Pacific Standard Time:
...I'm a first semester ASL student at a small school in Waco, central
Community College (MCC). They have a full two year Interpreter Training, as
well as Studies in Deafness Certificate.
I also believe that Baylor University has a full Deaf Education program. I
need to get more information to understand exactly what they have
-- Tina Tillert
John Logan College's Interpreter Preparation Program:
In a message dated 8/15/2011 8:42:13 P.M. Pacific Daylight
Time, yvonne.cortes@ writes:
I wanted to let you know that the University of Houston (Houston, Texas)
offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Sign
In a message dated 10/4/2007 5:19:40 P.M. Pacific Daylight
Time, michelle_duckworth@ writes:
Fairmont State University in Fairmont WV has a 2 year
associates degree program for ASL interpreting. They also
have a 1 year certificate program, but I noticed on your
website that you were looking to post schools that offered
the degree. FSU is the only school in the state of WV that
offers the program. Very fast paced, but fun.
-- Michelle Duckworth
If you are attending a college or program that offers an
in ASL, please do let me know and I'll post it.
About this section: In the early days of the net it used to be the
"thing to do" to have a "links" page. There used to only be a few
online ASL Dictionaries. At one time I actually kept a running list of all
of them. Now there are so many it is silly to try to keep track. They come
Now this list is more of a curiosity as to which ones stay in the game. I no
longer add new sites to the list since people can find ASL sites and
resources quite easily via an internet search.
Here are a few other resources for you, if these go out of
date, feel free to let me know.
Online ASL dictionaries:
Specialized ASLDictionary: Indigenous sign for countries by
now at http://www.theinterpretersfriend.com/indj/cntry/toc.html
Matthew Moore (the same fellow who publishes Deaf Life Magazine see
deaflife.com ) writes on August 6, 2009 that the interpreter's
friend site is now at
ASL Dictionary 1 http://www.bconnex.net/~randys/
(Hasta la vista baby. Thanks Erin, for letting me know.)
ASL Dictionary 2
up. Thanks Anna, for letting me know.)
Note: Jolanta tells me that much of the old dww site is now at her new
You have a wonderful resource and thanks for providing it to the communities
I was the founder of deafworldweb.org, and yes, it has been long gone since
then. I noticed in your page at
http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/resources.htm . Actually, the
major part of DWW has been continued at www.handspeak.com that you might
like to add to your ASL Dictionary list.
Keep up with your great work.
i8media artist @ HandSpeak
www.i8media.com / www.handspeak.com >>
ASL Dictionary 3 http://www.masterstech-home.com/ASLDict.html
ASL Dictionary 4
ASL Dictionary 5 http://library.thinkquest.org/10202/
ASL Dictionary 6
ASL Dictionary, Technical:
ASL Dictionary, Religious:
ASL Dictionary, Religious:
ASL Dictionary, Technical: SK8AIT (aviation and science signs)
ASL Dictionary, Animal Signs:
Also check out: Koko teaching sign language:
ASL Dictionary, Medical Phrases:
Recommended site: http://asl.ms
Fingerspelling 1: http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/~su/asl/asl.html
Fingerspelling 2: http://where.com/scott.net/asl/
Dead as of 7/7/05
Fingerspelling 3: http://www.sirius.com/~dub/CALL/asl.html
(Out of there. Thanks Savannah, for letting me know.)
http://discovertechnology.com/ASLsigns/ASLSigns.htm ( History baby. Thanks Savannah, for letting me know.)
Fingerspelling 8: http://www.iwaynet.net/~ggwiz/asl/
Savannah writes: A while back I found a fingerspelling
site that I think is very useful. It has videos of different ppl
fingerspelling words. Some of the videos are hard to see due to poor
lighting, but I thought it was helpful to see different ppl signing, to get
more used to trying to read fingerspelling. This is at
http://www.jal.cc.il.us/ipp/fingspell/ if u want to check it out.
ASL Numbering System
Numbering 1: ASL number systems
http://www.rit.edu/~dabdis/tech/nbrs.html Dead as of
6/17/2005 (Thanks Katie)
(Witty, insightful commentary and information).
(A little buggy, but seems to provide good access to deaf-related stories).
ASL Literature http://www.aslquest.com./
Various and Kids
PBS Kids: Arthur Teaches Sign
http://www.linton-entertainment.com/ASL/ No longer up, but has been replaced by:
http://www.geocities.com/asl4kids Uh oh...another
NEW! Online "ASL Training Center!" (Premium Subscription Version of ASLU) **
CHECK IT OUT **
Also available: "ASLUniversity.com" (a mirror of Lifeprint.com
less traffic, fast access) **
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